Gabriela Peacock is a Nutritional Therapist and Founder of GP Nutrition
These days we are all more aware of what constitutes a healthy, and ‘clean’ diet, but what exactly is Nutritional Therapy, and how can it benefit our health and wellbeing?
Good, well-balanced nutrition is at the heart of radiant health. Whether your goals are to lose weight, have the vitality to perform well at a sport, maintain a healthy immune system or start a family – nutritional therapy can help.
I take the time to get to know my clients by taking an in-depth look at medical history, symptoms, lifestyle and current eating habits. Taking all of this into account, an evidence-based, bespoke dietary program is put together with you at the heart of it. I work with food and supplements to bring the body back into balance; I find realistic and achievable ways to improve the diet and set achievable goals; I aim to bring excitement to food and create good eating habits that will last a lifetime!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go down the same route? Anything you have learnt along the way?
Do your homework! There are loads of courses out there, and there are significant differences between the titles Dietician, Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist.
Be prepared for scientific studies. A career in nutrition requires a sound scientific understanding, including physiology, biochemistry and anatomy to name a few, so if you are thinking of making the switch and you haven’t studied science before, you might need to consider an access course in biology and chemistry.
People skills are essential! Working in nutrition requires strong communication skills to help people make decisions about their lifestyle and food choices. We assess and treat people with a wide range of medical problems, so you need to be able to motivate them to change their eating habits and explain complicated terms.
What can someone expect from a consultation with you? What are clients normally looking for when they book that initial consultation?
Often, clients come to me because they haven’t found answers in more ‘orthodox’ reductionist approaches to ill health – whether it be digestive health or skin complaints for example. Nutritional Therapy is patient centred, and I look at the individual and their unique health and lifestyle history to come up with a realistic plan that’s suitable for them.
Patients can expect individualised support based on comprehensive health screens, dietary and lifestyle assessment, laboratory testing and ongoing nutritional supplementation where appropriate.
The initial session is usually a lot of information gathering, I take a detailed case history from my client and ask them lots of questions about their nutritional habits, lifestyle, medical history, family history etc.
Nutritional therapy is very tailored to the individual, but is there any advice that you can give in general to those wanting to improve their diet and lifestyle? What are your top do’s and don’ts to improve health and wellbeing?
- Make sure you keep blood sugar balanced by combining protein, carbohydrates and plenty of fresh vegetables. The right composition of meals is very important! In my opinion, meal composition and good quality snacks is the main factor in weight management.
- Always have good sources of protein, and some healthy carbs.
- I believe that you can find healthy options in most restaurants!
- Know your portion sizes – that way you can enjoy everything in moderation!
- Don’t skip breakfast – it really does set you up for the day.
- Carry snacks to help with cravings. Protein bars are always in my bag; nuts and seeds are also a great option – try spicy / mildly flavoured versions for variety. I love Punch Foods seeds selection, they’re delicious and sprouted which makes them super healthy.
How does exercise fit into Nutritional Therapy? Is there any exercise in particularly that you recommend to clients?
Try to prioritise exercise. There really isn’t any excuse when the days are long and the sun is shining! You could walk to work, and certainly try to walk up the escalators on the tubes and the stairs in your office. Sitting down for long hours (as many of us do at our desks) is not healthy. Try having a walk and talk meeting!
Schedule your exercise along with your other commitments and look for ways to be active during the day, even the little things add up – like doing housework! The recommendation is for at least 30 active minutes each day – but this increases to 60 minutes if you’re trying to lose weight.
What is your own exercise regime?
I do reformer pilates at Ten Pilates 2-3 times per week which I love.
Do you have a favourite quick and easy healthy recipe that you could share with us for StyleNest readers to try at home?
Honestly Healthy’s Tomato, Chilli & Coconut Soup:
10 large tomatoes
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass
1 red chilli
2 tins of reduced fat coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh root ginger
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp organic tomato concentrate (the stuff in the tube)
Fresh coriander, chilli oil and creme fraiche to serve.
Chop your shallots, garlic and ginger and heat in a big pot with coconut oil until soft. Grind your coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar before adding to the pot with the chopped chilli and lemongrass. Cut up the tomatoes and mix in. Leave it all to cook together for 15 minutes until it starts to smell delicious.
Add 2 tins of coconut milk and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Use a hand blender in the pot to create your soup and then strain through a fine sieve to get rid of the lemongrass leftovers.
Serve with teaspoon of creme fraiche and chilli oil and decorate with a few coriander leaves.
Can you describe a typical day as a Nutritional Therapist? (if there is one!)
My typical day starts with breakfast with my daughter Maia and husband David. In the mornings I usually work from home, and am at the Medical Clinic at Grace, Belgravia once a week too. I love meeting up with friends for lunch if I don’t have any meetings, and then in the afternoon I’ll either work on patient protocols or on the launch of my upcoming supplement line. I hang out with Maia in the evenings, then will either have dinner home or go out depending on our plans!
You’re based in Belgravia, London. Any favourite places from your address book that you can share with us? A great place for brunch with friends, an excellent health conscious restaurant, or a fabulous place to treat yourself to a cocktail perhaps?
If you’re looking for a great, vegetarian meal, then I’d recommend Tanya’s Café in Chelsea, Nama in Notting Hill or Raw Press in Mayfair. I love going to Bumpkin at the weekends with my family, and as a treat then I love Scots in Mayfair for oysters, and Nobu for delicious fish and sushi. For dinner with my girlfriends, then it’s got to be Ivy Chelsea Garden!
You started your career in fashion modelling. How would you describe your style today? Any favourite brands or designers?
I love Amanda Wakeley. Her designs are timeless, elegant and so flattering!
I also like Miu Miu for their daytime dresses; Chanel and YSL for their handbags and of course Jimmy Choo for shoes!
For more high street designers, I love Zadig & Voltaire, Sandro and Maje.
Nutritional Therapy involves looking at diet and lifestyle to not only improve general health and wellbeing, but also for optimal ageing. What are your favourite face and body beauty products, anti-ageing or otherwise, to help skin look and feel more youthful?
I use Dr Haushka skincare for its calming effects. It’s super natural and smells divine.
I have also been using a selection of Vichy creams for years. Their day creams are so light on the skin and they absorb super quickly; I love that they have different ranges to target a wide variety of skin concerns too.
And finally, how would you spend your perfect day off?
Hanging out with my favourite people! My daughter and husband. Then lunch with girlfriends eating delicious food and finishing with a glass of Pinot Noir of course.
www.gpnutrition.co.uk. Follow Gabriela on Twitter and Instagram @GP_Nutrition